New Pilot Program Boosts Job Training at Carroll
With the demand for skilled trade jobs growing throughout the state, the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), in partnership with Opportunity@Work and the State of Maryland, recently launched a pilot program that focuses on increasing the effectiveness of of job training programs for skills-based hiring throughout the state.
Four Maryland community colleges, including Carroll Community College, were chosen to be part of the $350,000 grant-funded program aimed to support alignment of their skills training programs with local job markets.
This pilot aims to streamline the partnerships between community colleges and local employers by designing and/or enhancing existing workforce training programs at community colleges around the essential skills most needed for specific occupations, thus creating a pipeline of skilled and career-ready job candidates for open positions.
Helping Students Forge Their Future
There are more than 1.3 million workers in Maryland alone who obtain skills through alternative routes such as community college job training programs rather than through a Bachelor’s degree program.
Kelly Koermer, Vice President of Continuing Education and Training (CET) at Carroll, has been developing the College’s workforce training pathways to best help students gain the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to start in or change careers to the skilled trades.
We build all our training programs around successful student learning outcomes that are informed by industry experts.
“Carroll makes every effort to assist students in determining what they kind of profession they may want to pursue,” Koermer said. For example, in a free monthly session with Career Choices, students can discuss different careers in a group setting, figure out which one(s) they are interested in, and look at all the applicable Credit programs and Continuing Education courses offered at Carroll.
“Often, students who come in for the session follow up with our career coach who supports the student with one-on-one advising,” Koermer said. A career coach’s objective is to find something that both interests the student and meshes with their aptitude and goals. Entry-level earning, career advancement, required industry certification and more are considerations when deciding on which job training opportunity they decide to pursue.
What if the student has family obligations or works full-time? Carroll can help accelerate a program through the Prior Learning Assessment tool. Previous industry-recognized credentials or college-level courses may count towards the program, saving the student time and tuition.
Popular Skilled Trade Job Training
Carroll offers a wide variety of workforce training certificate programs. Here are a few of the more popular:
- Commercial Drone Operation: According to Koermer, drone pilots are now in big demand in our high-tech industrial era. Those trained and licensed to operate commercial small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) may work in real estate, law enforcement and agriculture, among other exciting industries.
- Healthcare: Students who realize they enjoy helping other people may choose to pursue a rewarding, always-in-demand career as a certified nurse assistant/geriatric nursing assistant, dental assistant, pharmacy technician, registered behavior technician or another healthcare role.
- Transportation: The pandemic’s disruption to supply chains has highlighted the need for skilled truck drivers. Koermer said that this has caused a surge in interest in the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program. “It gets people out of the office, pays well and there’s a huge demand.”
- Entrepreneurship: With the “Great Resignation” from the corporate workplace has come a wave of increased interest in starting a business. Carroll’s new Pathway to Entrepreneurship, an 80-hour online program, offers relevant coursework in a convenient format for would-be entrepreneurs.
Quality Programs = Quality Workforce
While these non-credit job training programs may be a fast track to gaining the skills needed for a stable career, that does not mean students are shortchanged.
“We’re an accredited institution of higher education,” Koermer said. “We build all our training programs around successful student learning outcomes that are informed by industry experts.” By working with industry partners to develop and teach their curriculum, Carroll prepares students to meet the demands of the current skilled job market and beyond.
“We believe that a four-year degree cannot be the only path to success,” said Opportunity@Work’s COO Bridgette Gray. “Improving partnerships between community colleges and businesses will ensure that training programs deliver the necessary skills that employers are looking for and a way to enhance them as those needs change.”